234 MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE as a painter would paint it on his canvas, and conceal a trick of perspective by using some objects in the foreground ("the man's face55 and "the horse's head") to set off the distant view. Entirely apart from the poetic feeling that the man is so high up in the mountains, one realizes that the scenery was looked at by the poet as if it were a piece of painting on a flat surface. The reader would then see, as he actually sees in paintings or snapshots, that hilltops seem to rise from the man's face and the clouds nestling somewhere in the distance form a line broken by the horse's head. This clearly was not possible if the poet was not on horseback and the clouds were not lying on a lower level in the distance. In the end, the reader has to imagine himself on horseback on a high mountain path and view the scene from the same perspective as the poet did. In this way, and really through this trick of perspective, these pen-pictures gain a bold relief impossible with other methods. It cannot be said that the Chinese poets were conscious of the theory of this technique, but had in any case found the technique itself. Hundreds of examples might be cited. With this technique of perspective, Wang Wei (699- 759)> probably China's greatest descriptive poet, said: In the mountains a night of rain, And above the trees a hundred springs. Of course, it requires a little effort to imagine "springs on tree- tops" (which are the exact words in the original); but exactly because such a perspective is so rare and can only be found when high mountain gorges, forming, after the previous night's rainfall, a series of cascades in the distance, appear above the outline of some trees in the foreground, the reader gains a clear perspective otherwise impossible. As with the former example from Li Po, the art lies in the selection of an object in the foreground to set it off against the objects in the distance, like clouds, cascades, hilltops and the Milky Way, and then painting these together on a fiat surface. Thus Liu Yuhsi (772- 842) wrote: [For an] autumn scene: several dots of hills over the wall.